Walter E. Williams

 British Petroleum's CEO John Browne devised a $100 million-a-year public relations campaign that characterizes oil as a "necessary evil" and in the process deceitfully started changing its corporate identity from "British Petroleum" to "Beyond Petroleum."

 Citigroup and Bank of America agreed to allow Rainforest Action Network to dictate their lending practices -- such as not financing projects that don't meet with environmentalists' approval.

 Also included among CSRW's top 10 are Whole Foods, Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, Kraft Foods and Procter & Gamble, which have been mau-maued into paying higher, so-called "fair trade" prices for coffee beans in the name of helping struggling farmers.

 Do corporations have social responsibility? Yes. Nobel Laureate Professor Milton Friedman put it best in 1970 when he said that in a free society "there is one and only one social responsibility of business -- to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud."

 Only people, not businesses, have responsibilities. A CEO is an employee. He's an employee of shareholders and customers. When the corporate executive community fails to recognize that fact and engages in activities unrelated to the pursuit of profits, lower national wealth, higher product prices, and lower return on investment are the result. Corporate executives caving in to anti-capitalists' attacks will not buy peace. Capitulation only whets anti-capitalist appetites for bigger, bolder and more widespread attacks and extortion.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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